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LSU 2021-2022 Basketball Position Preview: Forwards

Darius Days returns for one final season in purple and gold

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Louisiana State at Michigan IndyStar-USA TODAY Sports

Our 2021-2022 men’s basketball preview rolls on. Yesterday we dove deep into LSU’s options in the backcourt, and today we’ll look at the wings and more frontward facing players on the roster.

The single biggest addition to the LSU 2021-2022 roster wasn’t from the transfer portal or the recruiting circuit, rather it was Darius Days electing to return for one final season in Baton Rouge. Over the years Days has been LSU’s most important piece as both a floor spacer and willing rebounder. Maybe his game never translates to making an NBA roster (remember Days has declared for the past three NBA Drafts only to return upon getting feedback from scouts) but being an exceptionally good college basketball player is nothing to turn your nose at.

Returning for a second season as a Tiger is sophomore M’Wani Wilkinson who I am still very high on. Will Wade is high on him, too.

“Nobody in our program has made a bigger jump than Mwani Wilkinson; he played for us last year and started a bunch of games for us last year,” Wade said. “He’s going to look like a new player especially on the offensive end - when people see him, they’re going to be shocked, he’s had a tremendous offseason.”

I hope that’s the case because, as I said prior to last season, he could be a two-way type of player LSU hasn’t had in quite some time. He got plenty of work last season, playing in 27 games and started 12 but offensively he just wasn’t there yet. But hopefully his showing this past Saturday in LSU’s scrimmage against Nicholls (12 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals, and a block) is a sign of things to come.

There’s also some new faces joining LSU this season with one in particular who could make a massive impact. Sophomore forward Tari Eason, a transfer from Cincinnati, could be the imposing post defender that has evaded LSU the past few seasons. As a freshman Eason averaged a block and a steal per game en route to a spot on the AAC’s All-Freshman team. Standing at 6’8”, Eason can guard true power forwards and allow the shorter Darius Days and M’Wani Wilkinson to put the clamps on opposing wing players. Eason’s height has already made an impact as he grabbed 15 rebounds in Saturday’s scrimmage and added 22 points for good measure.

Freshman forward Alex Fudge joins LSU as a high four-star and the No. 57 prospect in last year’s cycle per the 247 composite. Fudge, listed at 6’8” and 185 pounds, has NBA Draft potential per 247 and actually enrolled at LSU in January. With an extra few months spent with the program, Fudge—who averaged 17 points and 12 rebounds his last year of high school—ought to be more ready for the college game than most freshmen.

Elsewhere on LSU’s roster the Tigers get back Shareef O’Neal who is hopefully healthy in 2021-22. Injuries to his foot limited O’Neal to just 10 games last season. There is also true freshman Bradley Ezewiro, a 6’8, 245 pound freshman from California. Ezewiro is listed as a forward on LSU’s roster but 247 lists him as a center, which is fine the line between those positions is a little more blurred than it is at the NBA. Ezewiro was the lowest rated player of LSU’s 2021 signing class but with that imposing size he should be able to grab a rebound or two and box out opponents with ease.